Monday, December 17, 2012

The Next Big Thing

When my son asked me to join myspace back in 2005, so that I could keep up with the latest on his musical career, I had no idea what I was in for.  Since delving into the world of social media, I have met a lot of marvelous folks and have become good friends with many outstanding writers all over the planet. Rosemary Nissen-Wade, whose blog is SnakyPoet, is one of those people.  I have contributed many a haiku to her myspace blog, Haiku on Fridayand in a Facebook group she started, Haiku and Things.  Actually, I attribute to her the fact that I have continued to hone the skill of writing senryū and now use it as an abbreviated form of journal writing.  Among other great things, Rosemary is a poetry powerhouse. I feel a lot of kinship with her because I too consider myself someone who loves poetry and spread its seeds wherever I go.  

Rosemary invited me to take part in this "The Next Big Thing" blog chain and asked me to invite a few of my friends. Unfortunately, because most of my friends are seriously busy folks, as of yet, none of them has responded back in the affirmative. So, if any of you readers out there who have a blog, and some big book or literary project that you would like to share about, please contact me. I will send you some questions to answer, and you can then share them on your blog and continue this chain forward by inviting your friends to also take part.  

Here are Rosemary's "Next Big Thing," questions and my responses.  

Rosemary:  What is the working title of your book or project?

Odilia:  The title is "The Color of Light"

R:  What sparked the book off? 

O:  I have wanted to do a collection of poems for some of the Orisha and Mexica [Aztec] deities for sometime now. I have been interested in Mexican traditional spiritual practices since I was a girl and have studied what was available since then.  In 1997, I was doing research on African Traditional Religions and saw many similarities between the Orishas, deities from the Yoruba traditional religion of Ifa, and the Mexica deities, and wanted to explore these similarities in a book, which includes poetry.

R: How would you describe your project/book/piece of work?

O:  It is an exploration of the Orisha and Mexica deities mainly in poetry, but also in an extensive description of the journey of being called to them.

R:  How long did it take you to find your own style and voice?

O:  I started writing in my early teens.  I was never very confident about my writing and didn't really share it until I began taking part in writers' workshops.  The first group of writers I worked with in the 80's was Centro Chicano/Latino de Escritores, in the Mission District of San Francisco.  Here I was helped my fellow writers to hone my skills and not be afraid to share my writing with an audience.

R: In what ways do you think 'writer you' differs from or has similarities to the everyday you?
O: I really don't see much of separation between the writer and the everyday me.  I consider myself an artist/activist, and for me, these two ways of being are inseparable.  The artist helps to bring in the spiritual aspects of who I am, and the way I like to walk in the world - with lots of compassion for my fellow human beings.  The activist in me is always seeking balance, fairness, and justice.  I believe a lot in talking things out instead of acting them out.  I wish our leaders would do much more of this, maybe then, we'd have peace instead of so much war and hatred in the world.
R: Who or what makes you pick up that pen or start typing at the keyboard?
O: I have a daily writing practice, no matter where I am or how I am feeling, I write something.  It may be a  senryū, a longer poem, or if I am lucky, a chapter of my novel.  I am always telling my creative writing workshop participants that if one is going to call themselves a writer they must write - and I walk my talk.
R: Imagine someone waved a magic wand and you were only able to write one book in your lifetime and you knew it would be perfect and say exactly what you intended and be understood and appreciated by everyone; what would you write about? 
O:  That is a difficult question Rosemary. I guess I would have to say that I would write whatever came to me to write about.  I believe that my ancestors play a big role in what I am inspired to write and I honor and believe in that.

Thanks again Rosemary for all you do in the world to encourage folks to write!


Monday, December 03, 2012

November Senryū 2012

she stands lakeside | staring at the glass green lake | prays for good journeys |
her mother stares out windows | buscando la luna

people are afraid | the world will end or collapse | we need a big change

underwater moon | looks up through watery clouds | contemplates life

call them terrorists | call them savage non-people | then take their land

parents bury their babies | who've perished in war | and the world weeps

little children  | should not die in adult wars | wanting for peace

war is raging | the planet is morphing | into infernos

we pray for people | suffering loss of loved ones | for no reason

blessed rain that still falls | a smile from the ancestors | hugs from a loved one |
all these things I give thanks for | everyday of my life

put the world back | together it is splitting | in so many ways

words watercolor | the day is gray-blue infused | concealed is worry

world is scarier | best to pretend you're tougher | than the worst monsters

she remembers | that she forgets then forgets | she remembers 

estranged from her mind | sees a new world distorted | everything is lost

her mind's taken | intermittent vacations | from reality

today's a clear day | just a bit of confusion | of memories

take it or leave it | what you see is what you get | the door won't hit me |
and  then on the way out | I decide to come back in

a moment of truth | flicked away in a heart beat | that fast it's a lie

too truths are painful | no comparing oppression | personal hurt hurts 

sleep walking pequeñita | falls into strong arms |  needing her comfort

her three-year-old voice | sings a bright lyrical song | filled with a new day

twisted logic trips | the wire wrapped around lies | truth bursts from darkness

can you believe in | what people speak or depend on | what your heart says

little one predicts | rain today the sky opens | and sheds her blessings

she paints with words | the world she envisions | for future generations

my blue Chicago | steel strong and long memoried | divided we fall

a day to sleepwalk | dreams of miracles | to wish back what will happen

houses were ripped | swept into a raging ocean | their roots left dangling

we pray with our ancestors | offer them delights | sing long into night
sad poems of their passing | joyful songs of their bright lives

the day of little angels | that come back to sleep | cradled in our arms ❋

Saturday, November 03, 2012

October Senryū

the big city lights | knocked out by nature's right cross | do not shine this night

last dark clouds parted | double rainbows embraced sky | they welcomed the sun

wind howls in voices | of those who are coming | earthside for a visit

gray banks of rainclouds | gather more force at sunset | make ready the sky |
to spill its charred dark bellies | while wild wind mouths are wailing

she unbraids her hair | night tresses shot with silver | lets day fall away 

she unbraids the stress | of the day by hugging her | loved ones young and bright

she reaches in | takes her mother's heart in hand | restarts the love beating

let's wash off the night | eight hours is a long time | traveling dreamtime

life changes | in one day a whole world turns | over load

one of our strongest | a warrior was called home | hearts ache his absence

she cuts her hair | to release memories | of long ago pain

legacy | all our love and passion | demanding justice

truth | warriors speak in their walk | in their actions

visits home on-line | writes stories channeled | by ghosts becoming spirits

the only upside | of arguing with someone | is when they forget

instead of high-heels | She put on her stand-up shoes | knowing that she's strong

life was happier | in the back when | no one really remembers

we try to live up | to the worlds we believe in | not the lies we're fed

dancers time their moves | a writer's words dance too | music the rhapsody

a day reminding | winter's swiftly on the way | falls sure footed heels

use your computer | for a heating pad | to fire up ideas

sometimes you argue | all that heat becomes exhaust | then you hope for peace

people are puzzles | whole worlds in and of themselves | try to understand

I celebrate | the peoples survival | in hate's face

it's a mistake when | you only care about you | forget others

inexplicable loves | you can't force away | that can't be unbound

her face to the sky | a rose seeking sun's light | giving thanks for life

children buried in bodies | of grown folk pretending | life's not precious

in rivers of lies | truth floats on fallen leaves | drifting free

she seeks revenge | for a love promised taken | all she finds is sorrow

she is triumphant | her refusal to vanish wins | despite his venom |
his years of abuse | her heavy veil is lifted 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

September Senryū ~ 2012

O orange harvest moon | why do you bring such longing | for him or winter

our rights slip through hands | people shake their heads resigned | we lift our voices 
shouting you can't take our rights | they are not yours to swindle

people don't want to suffer | though wanting is fear | of not having

but they don't get it | less is more doesn't compute | in our "buy" culture

no more star gazing | purple skies too full of moon| on yesterdays gone

nothing can stop her | only she can brake herself | re-imagine life

first day of falling | into another season | reasons to stand sure

the two who are | one lives in Aiye | other in Orun |
both sacred twins journeyed | to market no'ne stayed home

her face always in books | or screen blue back lit | you'll find her there lost |
in a world of words seeking | illusive as butterflies

she was born spirit line | a "mistake" that got left in | strong

our words not a ruse | poetry as lies to be used | to get ahead

a tsunami cloud | resembled a mountain range | covered in new snow |
hovered on the edge | of my childhood lake

if a writer falls | in love with you | you'll never be forgotten

a pastel party | going down up in heaven | as Spirits rejoice

resist urges | to vote for the lesser of | evils who are twins

fear is a liar | bullies win through our silence | the truth shall prevail

I can not pretend | that monsters do not exist | they live among us

leaves unravel spring | summer's a lush coat of green | fall life's teeth chew through | 
masticating to the bone | winter the long sleep waiting

there are many Septembers | on the eleventh | we remember those |
who died for the empire | who died for the lies

she wants it to rain | in ropes falling from blank skies | to cool the harsh day

ancestor maíz | corn in every color | grows seven feet tall

we break easily | sometimes there's no other way | to end the madness |
we leave reality | head towards a way to be healed

she could have been his | in an eye-blink eternity | star-crossed lovers |
oceans that could never merge | what beauty trying

she tells her mother | I hope you won't forget me | she forgets what's said |
daughter cries for all the loss | then in her childhood and now

workers the backbone | bring food from fields to tables | build envisioned worlds |
mothers raise nations of us | fathers the finishing touch

medicine stories | passed on in blood memory | in ancestors' voices

what is unseen | is later unearthed by light | shed on the darkness

Copyright © 2012 Odilia Galván Rodríguez. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

With Wings To Fly

With Wings To Fly

A woman
         with wings
to fly
         she does not know
         she can not
seem to
         extend them
to take to air
         all around
seems stagnant
         she fails
in all heaviness
         to remember

when she
         enabled another
was clipped
         to the point
she forgot her name
         was shrouded
left with only
         a thin line of mesh
her eyes to see
         only him
she was grounded

but finally one day
         an eagle flew over
is that really you
         what's happened
what’s happened
         what's become of you
your beautiful wings shorn
         restricted flight
throw off those chains
         set yourself free
take to the air
         no more despair

in small steps
         she began
to forgive herself
         to remember who she was
not who she'd become
         everyday more feathers grew
first in little nubs then in sprouts
         as if by magic
her wings bloomed anew
         her muscles retrained
after many crash landings and falls
         Quetzalli took to air
stronger in every way
         never to be grounded

Vuelo Imposible
Copyright All rights reserved by FLAVIO DIAZ

note: Quetzalli

IPA: /ketsalli/
quetza "to stand up" + -lli
A quetzal feather. Something precious.